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How to Work Effectively Remotely

Whether you’re working remotely one day per week (or more) or full-time because of a health situation it’s important to ensure that you are set up to be productive. This includes having a designated workspace with the right technology; ways of dealing with kids, other potential disruptions; and schedule that allows for the social contact and stimulation that ordinarily comes from being in a workplace with others. Here are strategies and tips to be successful as a remote worker.

Know the ground rules

Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? Which tech tools might you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats. Ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passwords. Be sure to do trial runs and work out any problems that might impede your work.

Set up a functional workspace

Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. Separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities.

Get the internet speed up

If you have kids, their Face Timing and Xbox habits may slow your connection and download speeds. Moving as close as you can to your Wi-Fi router can help or you can consider switching to Ethernet. You’ll likely need a dongle since laptops don’t have Ethernet ports these days, plus an Ethernet cable to connect your computer to your router.

Use phone apps

If your job involves making long distance and/or international calls, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype all let you call over the Internet across the globe on the cheap. And if you and the person you’re calling are on the same service, the call will be free.

Minimize distractions

If you have a barking dog or a jack-hammering worker outside your windows, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones, such as Apple’s AirPod Pros. And if the kids are home and you’re without childcare (say, during the summer or a natural emergency), see if you and your spouse (or a neighbor in a similar situation) can take turns with care—which may mean you have to talk to your manager about working evening hours.

Plan extra social interactions

Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, staring at the same project for long hours. It can get lonely. Be ready for that, and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time, like a lunch date (even if you take it at 3 PM), a videochat with a friend, or an exercise class.

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